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Red Bull boss concedes title already following Mercedes pre-season

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has made unexpected claims that he believes Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship rivals Mercedes are streets ahead of his team, and that Lewis Hamilton (13/8) is favourite to win his first title since 2008.

“You could well see more [domination this season],” Englishman Horner said. “Perhaps not from us, but from Mercedes. If they were to finish two laps ahead of the opposition in Melbourne, that wouldn’t be a surprise, based on what we’ve seen in pre-season testing. It’s massive.

“What we know about Lewis is that he is extremely talented and naturally fast. And he’s in a good team, so he’s probably got to be the favourite going into the season.”

Whether or not Horner is playing a Jose Mourinho-esque mind-game tactic (whose Chelsea football team are currently seven points at the top of the Premier League after playing down his side’s chances) remains to be seen.

Coral prices, however, and Red Bull’s woeful pre-season test performances show that Horner is not bluffing, but in fact stating the truth. Individual champion of the last four years Sebastian Vettel was odds-on favourite only a few weeks back to win the Drivers’ Championship, but his odds have dramatically drifted now to 4/1, behind Hamilton.

The Milton Keynes-based Austrian team have also won the last four Constructors’ Championships, but it seems that era of dominance could be over for the 2014 season. Red Bull are now second-favourites at 4/1 (equal with Ferrari) to defend their title.

This season’s first race is the Australian Grand Prix that takes place on March 16th, with Vettel down at equal sixth-favourite (12/1) to add to his 39 career race wins. Coral’s odds say Hamilton (2/1) will finish first, ahead in the betting of teammate Nico Rosberg (4/1).

Such is predicted Mercedes dominance, that the team are now odds-on at 5/6 to win the Constructors’ Championship, while McLaren – the team that Hamilton was heavily criticised leaving – are fourth-favourites at 8/1. Current driver Jenson Button, 2009 champion, can be backed at 10/1 to win his second Drivers’ Championship.